With over 250 participants from different academic and research institutions, government agencies, non-government organizations (NGOs), independent researchers, undergraduate and graduate students from different schools in the Philippines, the Biodiversity Conservation of the Philippines (BCSP) conducted their 31st annual Philippine Biodiversity Symposium with the theme “Priority Conservation Actions to Sustain Philippine Biodiversity” at Sorsogon State University (SSU) from August 22-25, 2023.
Energy Development Corporation (EDC) is the host for this year’s conference, and they highlighted the endangered species for animals and plants since they are both important biodiversity resources.
“We thought of hosting this conference to showcase not just EDC Geothermal facility but also the local biodiversity of the Sorsogon Province,” said Atty. Allan Barcena, EDC’s AVP and Head of Corporate Relations and Communications in an interview with Bicoldotph.
The symposium aims to advance an improved biodiversity research and conservation as well as increase public awareness, appreciation, and understanding of the Philippine biodiversity.
“Itong mga conferences na ito, they create and raise awareness and hopefully if there is high awareness on biodiversity conservation there will be more actions in terms of protecting and conserving our biodiversity,” said Atty. Barcena.
Meanwhile, according to Ma. Nancy Ibuna, president of BCSP, they also wanted to revisit the priority conservation areas that was identified 20 years ago wherein they bought up conservation actions.
“We wanted to check how far we have come since identifying areas 20 years ago if we really made a difference and what do we need to do in order to move forward,” said Ibuna.
There are many symposium activities including institutional exhibit of organizations involved in biodiversity research and conservation, keynote presentations from distinguished wildlife scientists and conservation practitioners, concurrent workshops, and contributed oral and poster presentations.
One of the attendees is Christopher John Pueblo, currently taking up his masteral degree in Master of Science in Environmental Science in University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, he also presented the result of his research about the impacts of climate change on the same species of bats.
According to Pueblo, it is hard to generalize for the whole biodiversity if there are changes in the Philippines and if it is still preservable.
“Based on my own research, generally, those species that can survive in urban, those species that has high adaptability can survive this impact of anthropogenic and climate change pressure. So, ‘yun ‘yung nakikitang trend, but for those specialists or those species…with special requirements, especially ‘yung mga endemic animals natin both plants and animals will likely be impacted by this pressure,” Pueblo said.
Consequently, the public should know that simple gesture can help to preserve the biodiversity in the Philippines by simply putting the garbage into right place, doing community works, helping to clean the creeks and rivers, by also appreciating nature by doing simple tree walk and identifying some of the wildlife.
Meanwhile, according to Jeffrey Jaymes Mesias, Ecosystems Management Specialist I of DENR BMB, this symposium organized by BCSP is a great help because all the experts are held together to examine and talk thoroughly about the biodiversity in the country.
“Any room for improvement sa kung pano natin pwede iconserve or kung pano natin mapag-aaralan ‘yung biodiversity natin as well as kung ano ang pwede ma-recommend in terms sa future laws and policies na pwede natin ma-implement to ensure na mamamanage natin at naco-conserve natin ang biodiversity and natural resources ng Pilipinas na sustainable. It’s a win-win situation in terms of economic importance as well as yung conservation and protection ng ating natural resources,” Mesias said.
At the end of the symposium, both BCSP and EDC are expecting that the public will be more aware and about biodiversity concerns and will exert more conservation effort not just in the local setting but also in the whole Philippines. | God Frey Las Piñas